Kentucky parents file lawsuit accusing Instagram of causing daughter’s eating disorder, mental illness

Kentucky parents file lawsuit accusing Instagram of causing daughter's eating disorder, mental illness
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Two lawsuits were filed this week accusing Instagram’s parent company Meta of causing and contributing to the growing mental health crisis among children and teens in the United States. Candace Wuest and her daughter Cece live in Independence, Kentucky. They are both plaintiffs in one of the lawsuits filed Monday. Cece first began using Instagram when she was 12 years old. Her mother said the app was used as a way for them to communicate when she spent weekends with her dad. The lawsuit says at some point the content Cece was being exposed to changed from “delicious recipes to healthy recipes and then to dangerous recipes.” There were even recipes designed to achieve negative caloric intake.Cece eventually developed an eating disorder.”I had no idea that she was being exposed to some of the things she was being exposed to. None whatsoever,” Candace said.The lawsuit alleges ” Cece’s use of Instagram developed into a dependency on the Instagram product and coincided with a steady, but severe, decline in her mental health.””The things I was seeing I was feeling like I was fat. I was feeling like I was unworthy. Like I was just feeling not myself,” Cece said.Candace says some of the most detrimental posts she’s seen on the platform come in a very artistic form.”Things like very aesthetic black and white pictures of kids with marker written on their hands that says ‘I know I should die,'” Candace said.Cece was suffering from bradycardia and had to be hospitalized, eventually leading to a stay at a rehabilitation center in North Carolina.”The lawsuit is about a product that is designed to addict children .A prod uct that is designed to take advantage of the fact that their brains aren’t fully developed and that they will become more addicted to things over time, the more outrageous the conduct is,” said Matthew Bergman, one of the attorneys representing the Wuests. The Wuests aren’t alone in their experience. Ben and Jennifer Martin of Georgetown, KY also filed a lawsuit Monday. After joining Instagram, their daughter Alexandra became anorexic and bulimic and attempted to take her own life twice. The Martins began to notice changes in their daughter in 2016. The lawsuit states, “Her exercise routine became more and more extreme. At the same time, she started eating less.”According to the lawsuit, she began lying about what she was eating and started rapidly losing weight. In December of 2016, she ended up in the emergency room with heart failure. Their lawsuit alleges that “Meta created a “perfect storm” of addiction, social comparison, and exposure to incredibly harmful content and product features, then operated its algorithms to push and promote harmful content.”The laws include several pages from documents Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen released last year that she says shows Facebook knew the harm it was causing with its content. We have reached out to Meta for a comment but have not heard back.

Two lawsuits were filed this week accusing Instagram’s parent company Meta of causing and contributing to the growing mental health crisis among children and teens in the United States.

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Candace Wuest and her daughter Cece live in Independence, Kentucky. They are both plaintiffs in one of the lawsuits filed Monday.

Cece first began using Instagram when she was 12 years old. Her mother said the app was used as a way for them to communicate when she spent weekends with her dad.

According to the lawsuit, the two would use Instagram to find “delicious recipes” to cook together. The lawsuit says at some point the content Cece was being exposed to changed from “delicious recipes to healthy recipes and then to dangerous recipes.” There were even recipes designed to achieve negative caloric intake.

Cece eventually developed an eating disorder.

“I had no idea that she was being exposed to some of the things she was being exposed to. None whatsoever,” Candace said.

The lawsuit alleges “Cece’s use of Instagram developed into a dependency on the Instagram product and coincided with a steady, but severe, decline in her mental health.”

“The things I was seeing I was feeling like I was fat. I was feeling like I was unworthy. Like I was just feeling not myself,” Cece said.

Candace says some of the most detrimental posts she’s seen on the platform come in a very artistic form.

“Things like very aesthetic black and white pictures of kids with marker written on their hands that says ‘I know I should die,'” Candace said.

Cece was suffering from bradycardia and had to be hospitalized, eventually leading to a stay at a rehabilitation center in North Carolina.

“The lawsuit is about a product that is designed to addict children. A product that is designed to take advantage of the fact that their brains aren’t fully developed and that they will become more addicted to things over time, the more outrageous the conduct is,” said Matthew Bergman, one of the attorneys representing the Wuests.

The Wuests aren’t alone in their experience. Ben and Jennifer Martin of Georgetown, KY also filed a lawsuit Monday.

After joining Instagram, their daughter Alexandra became anorexic and bulimic and attempted to take her own life twice.

The Martins began to notice changes in their daughter in 2016. The lawsuit states, “Her exercise routine became more and more extreme. At the same time, she started eating less.”

According to the lawsuit, she began lying about what she was eating and started rapidly losing weight. In December of 2016, she ended up in the emergency room with heart failure.

Their lawsuit alleges that “Meta created a “perfect storm” of addiction, social comparison, and exposure to incredibly harmful content and product features, then operated its algorithms to push and promote harmful content.”

The lawsuits include several pages from documents Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen released last year that she says shows Facebook knew the harm it was causing with its content.

We have reached out to Meta for a comment but have not heard back.

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